The Morning Joe Rebuttal for January 29th, 2010
1) There are 472 elections coming to congress this year. For the first time in our lifetime, the mid term elections have an easy to access amalgamator on wikipedia that allows you to track competitive races and see where all of these Democratic seats are going to be lost.
What if Obama got there first? What if a designated marketing area analysis was made and each DMA of a competitive race was targeted for town halls, not cozy co-campaigns, but town halls where a voter felt like he was entering into a contract with the party to implement in a timely manner his will, not the will of lobbyist or incumbents.
As much as we would like to go to Iowa again, a state that Obama carried in the election, and get our revenge against Chuck Grassley, we know that Arkansas and Illinois are where better outcomes opportune themselves. It’s a wonderful double message: Arkansas and Illinois get a real contract for change, but Iowa, unless you can work out your issues, you’re stuck with Grassley for a 58th year, and he is a senile embarrassment.
The town halls, the Q and A’s, the letting the voter tell Obama directly how disappointing 2009 and his caving on health care were, these are the real messages voters want heard. The only way the message won’t be Scarborough’s distortion, '75% of America didn’t want health care’, and will be the true take of the independent voter, ‘keep lobbyist out of the equation like you promised, and protect consumers’, is if the voice of the voter gets 58 chances to be heard between now and November 2nd.
2) The interview with the leader of the teachers union was disgusting. I really felt like the cast of the show did a wonderful job pinning Randi Weingarten down that she, in fact, did cost the New York educational system $700 million dollars by her action. But, when it should have gotten further detailed, when she should have been forced to parse the ‘we want this for all teachers’ and ‘get the teachers the tools they need’ lines, to expose them for the self serving double speak they are, the cast stopped short.
‘We want this for all teachers and all students’ is a thinly veiled stiff arm to competition in the educational arena. If the quote could have also been ‘we don’t want to compete with the charter school for resources’ then the quote is double speak. Joe and Willie Geist are on top of this issue and need to mount a more vigorous campaign when facing the single biggest bottleneck to teacher accountability with unprecedented access. Randi Weingarten is a perfect example of the kind of obstruction that used to be rampant in the old municipal world, that can today be turned over like so many mossy rocks due to better availability of all angles of information on the matter.
Rather than call this a setback, I think of this missed opportunity as more of a call to action for the show as it looks for new ways to cover greater availability of information and evolves as an advocate of better educational results.
Arne Duncan just can’t get enough coverage, and a solid next step would be to have him back to look at the situation as the missing third element to this story. Unfortunately there is a fourth element to the story as well, and if the New York state legislature is anything like the California one, shame doesn’t work with those bag men.
3) One of the things that Morning Joe could be doing more often is showing available paths forward and strategies. I know that was done today with an analysis of the way forward for health care. But if, for a second, we looked at health care as a giant symptom of the more fundamental problems that are coming up over and over again, the Bernie Sanders ‘Congress is in the pocket of lobbyist’ and the Ron Brownstein ‘lets get 51 vote rule in the Senate if the megatrend is parliamentary in its partisan divide’, then the show should be at that level in it’s discussion. Aren’t these 2 subjects more important than even election reform, if it could be argued that election reform is also a symptom and would be diluted if tackled before congressional reform?
What are the paths forward to get lobbyist out? To get the cloture rule out? Is it referendum? Is it legal challenge? Could the Senate move to 51 vote rule with 51 votes on its session bylaws vote that starts every session? What experts can the show deliver to examine whether this is an attainable goal?
What I don’t want to see is these things covered as passing references in passionate statements by credible guests a fifteenth and sixteenth time without the show giving that more fundamental debate teeth. It’s all about the order of things and if you stick to the jobs vs. health debate, you are playing it safe, and all the while refusing to move the debate closer to the frustrations of the American people. Those voters wan’t government to be less paralyzed, and they want lobbyists out.
Randi Weingarten could’ve just as easily been a lobbyist for CIGNA or Senator Joe Lieberman with the doublespeak she got away with today.
That’s all for today, see you Monday.